Thursday, June 23, 2011

Food Budget Update

This will just be a brief update, as I'm exhausted! The food budget challenge is still going strong; we haven't run out of food yet (that's a bonus!). Which is partly why I can't bring you any fun baking post - rest assured, I'll be back with a vengeance next week. ;-)

We have bought a couple of extra things - some brown sugar, to liven up the porridge; some peanuts, with which to make peanut butter (which I'll write about when I've further refined the process, not sure I've optimised it yet!) and some extra milk. Because of the moldy porridge incident and the supermarket's refund policy I'm only counting half the cost of the milk (1 litre effectively just replaced what we lost in the yucky oats) so it was $6.77. That brings our shopping total to $86.97. I am pretty convinced we will need one more loaf of bread - Mr Cake ate nine pieces yesterday! - but otherwise we should be right. We made a big batch of chilli mince tonight, with the tinned tomatoes, all the leftover lentils, and some carrot grated through it. Tonight we had it with pasta; if we add potato to it tomorrow it should last two more dinners. Exciting stuff, eating the same thing three nights running!

I am sure there is quite a bit of scope to either save more or eat better within this budget - having a stock of things like lentils (we could have put more in our mince to make it go further but didn't want to buy another whole bag) would help. Also, over a longer term you have the option of making enough food for three nights but freeze some of it to help keep the variety in your life. I also think it's important to have a bit of sanity money that you can spend on treats or the odd meal out, even when you're on a budget - it makes sticking to the budget much more viable. Though we've been eating out this week we've really eliminated all treats (unless you count the brown sugar!).

Can you survive without treats? What's your can't-do-without vice?


  1. my can't do without is coffee! Last year I was surviving off $160 a week - 100 of which was rent, and 30 for bills, leaving 30 for food. One month over exams I stopped using my phone and conditioning my hair for coffee!

  2. Glad to hear you are trying the peanut butter, am curious how you get on. We just use canola oil in ours instead of peanut oil and it tastes really really good. I must admit that each of our batches has been slightly different, but all are yummy!

  3. Georgi, wow, $30 for food is tight! And coffee over phone/conditioner at exam time sounds like a sound investment. ;-)

    Tartankiwi, first attempt was good - convinced it can be great so will give it another go next week. Thanks for the recommendation!

  4. I make our peanut butter too. I use budget peanuts - $2.60ish a 500g bag - the blanched ones. My experiences have been if you over-roast it does distort the flavour a bit. I do ours at about 160 fan bake for a bit less than 15mins and I use peanut or canola oil usually and sometimes some rock salt. OUr grocery budget is $160 p/w for 2 adults and 2 small chn and I usually spend under. I've started shopping with cash so you definitely know what you've spent. Also with the moudly rolled oats usually the manufacturer will refund or send vouchers for at least double the value of the product in thes kind of circumstances.

  5. Thanks, makeitgiveit - I used your guidelines! :-) Tartankiwi linked me to them. I think I did overcook my peanuts a bit, and would like to experiment a bit with the oil quantity, but it was perfectly edible. Such a revelation! And yes, the supermarket replaced and refunded the oats so that was good. :-)


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